's Guide to Bonnaroo

By staff

The wild music, film, food and everything else festival Bonnaroo is kicking off its eleventh year in Tennessee. Here's what we think you should check out while you're there!

The wild music, film, food and everything else festival Bonnaroo is kicking off its eleventh year in Tennessee. Here’s what we think you should check out while you’re there!

Alabama Shakes

We’re so in love with Alabama Shakes and couldn’t imagine missing them at Bonnaroo! Hailing all the way from (you guessed it) Alabama, these newcomers have been making waves with their incredible debut album, Boys & Girls. With their Motown sound and electric live stage presence, it’s in your best interest to see them in an outdoor setting instead of inside a stuffy arena.

Superjam ft. ?uestlove and very special guests

As much as we love The Roots, it seems that every time we see them live our eyes are always glued to drum and tweet aficionado ?uestlove. Bonnaroo’s Superjams are notorious for bringing some of the biggest and best names from the fest together, and with a lineup like this year’s we can only imagine it’s going to be incredible. While ?uestlove is the only one who has been announced, as one fan put it on the Bonnaroo site, “If Flea isn’t a part of this shit I’m going to vomit with rage.” We agree, overzealous fan, we agree.


There are three kinds of people in life. There are those who have seen Skrillex over five times, those who haven’t seen him at all and then there are the people who just don’t get what the hell a bass drop is. Whatever kind of person you are, we suggest catching this Grammy award-winning 24-year-old work a crowd into a dancing frenzy. And even if you don’t get electro, you can enjoy the skimpy scenery.


It seems like the experimental rock band Battles likes to play Bonnaroo a year after their albums release. Back in 2008 Battles wowed the crowd with their incredible instrumental album Mirrored, which some claim was the most interesting and well-performed set of the festival. It’s absolutely incredible to see these guys create organized chaos live on stage, and you’ll be lucky to catch them before they start selling out arena shows!

Danny Brown

After watching his latest music video, “Grown Up,” we scrambled to the Bonnaroo site to see if he was performing. And sure enough, the festival was one step ahead of all of us who have just been bitten by the Danny Brown bug. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, his 2011 album XXX became critically acclaimed and we’re excited to see what this guy can do to bring his music to another level live.

Comedy: Steven Wright/Aziz Ansari /Marc Maron

We admit that we were a bit too busy going back and forth from musical acts to the food trucks. If it wasn’t for hearing Aziz Anzari tell his Sonic Forest joke live back in 2009, we wouldn’t have even known about the comedians who perform at the festival. If you’re going to catch some standup this year, we think you should catch Steven Wright’s show, which promises to be exceedingly dry, and WTF podcast’s Marc Maron’s set, as well as Aziz Anzari’s.


Why: We love Eddie Huang and he did our first Babes, Beers and BBQs column.

Solar Café

Why: It’s all run on solar power, so you don’t have to feel guilty about how much energy your soy latte is taking to make. They serve up some killer juices too.

Bear Creek Farm

Why: They sell arguably the best Angus burgers on festival ground.

Prater’s BBQ

Why: They’ve been catering to hungry Bonnaroo-goers since day one!


Why: This food truck is making the trek all the way from Miami, so it must have something to prove.

Broo’ers festival: 21 breweries have come together to create yet another unforgettable microbrew slate over at the Broo’ers festival. We’re excited to guzzle down a couple of pints from Clown Shoes Beer, Good People Brewing Co., Schlafly Beer and Magic Hat.  

Bonnaroo Cinema: We don’t know why you’d want to spend your entire time at a festival stuck indoors at a cinema, but you could very well spend your entire time at Bonnaroo catching an eclectic lineup of films, Q&As from directors, cult films and documentaries, as well as some pretty cool musical accompaniment to silent films. Our picks for this year’s Bonnaroo Cinema are: Bobcat Goldthwait’s dark comedy God Bless America; the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup, which will begin with a conversation with Alice Cooper about his friendship with Groucho Marx; Buster Keaton shorts scored live by tUnE-yArDs and Ava Mendoza; the Bob Marley documentary Marley; and the advanced screening of Hit and Run, which will also have a Q&A session with director/screenwriter/actor Dax Shepard and actor Kristen Bell afterwards.

Splash a Roo and the big-ass waterslide: We don’t know why we’d need to sell you on a big-ass waterslide at a music festival, but we can tell you in one word why you should take the time to check it out: bikinis.


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